The Updated Instagrammer's Guide to Rottnest Island!
I've just been back to Rottnest Island for the second time and had a fantastic couple of days exploring the 63 beaches, 20 bays and of course hanging out with the happiest animals on earth- the Quokkas!
With daily Rottnest Express ferry services from Perth and Fremantle to Rottnest Island, it's very easy to get here and what's even better is you can also hire a bike and snorkel gear directly from Rottnest Express. This means you can walk off the boat, they'll hand you your bike and equipment and you can head out exploring straight away.
To help you plan your time on Rotto, I've also updated this blog post to include some awesome new experiences!
What to Pack
The most popular activities on Rottnest Island include guided walks, swimming, cycling and of course getting a selfie with the Quokkas. With that in mind it’s a good idea to pack comfortable walking shoes, a backpack, towel, hat, water bottle, sunscreen, swimming clothes and a camera. There’s no need to worry about bringing snorkelling equipment, you can hire this on the island or with Rottnest Express when you book your ferry transfer.
How to get around
Rotto is quite a large island measuring in at 19 square kilometres. With no hire cars allowed, bikes are the transport of choice here and you can hire your bike with Rottnest Express and pick it up as you step off the ferry. There’s also a hop on/ hop off bus service with 18 stops on the island and it’s a good option when it’s raining or quite warm.
Where to Stay
Discovery Rottnest Island have just opened a brand new eco-resort at Pinky's Beach with luxury eco-tents, a fantastic pool, bar and restaurant and all with incredible views. Quokkas roam all around the resort and who can blame them when it's in such a stunning location. Sunset drinks overlooking the sand dunes, Pinky's Beach and the Lighthouse are a must!
Another option is the Hotel Rottnest. It's also at a top spot in Thomson Bay with a restaurant and bar. There’s also a number of Quokkas that like to hang around here which is handy if you’re trying to get one of those world famous Quokka selfies! Keep an eye out for Pete the Peacock who likes to spend his days strutting around here too.
What to see
One of the big drawcards to Rottnest Island are the friendly Quokkas that call this little slice of paradise home. These adorable marsupials are famous for their smiles, with thousands of tourists coming here each year to see them and to try and get a Quokka selfie. They are mainly nocturnal animals but you will see lots of them during the day, particularly in areas with lots of food. It’s important not to give Quokkas human food as it can be quite harmful to them, their natural diet includes leaves, bark, plants and grass. They’re quite curious little animals and will come right up to you if you stand still for long enough, a few tourists even had them climbing all over them when they lay down to get a selfie. If you are trying to get a photo with a Quokka, it’s important to be patient and not harass them, they are wild animals after all. If you’re lucky and one does come right up to you then the best camera setting to try and capture their adorable smiles is with a burst mode that takes a number of photos very quickly.
The ultimate fun-filled way to see Rotto is on board the Rottnest Express Adventure Boat Tour. This 90min tour takes you on a lap of the island, stopping in at several beautiful bays as well as right up close to the NZ Fur Seal colony at West End. From Sept to Nov you might also be lucky enough to see humpback whales as they migrate through the waters around the island.
As you'll see on the Rottnest Eco Express Adventure Boat Tour, there’s no shortage of beautiful beaches on Rotto with 63 dotted around the island. My favourites include the beaches at Parker Point, Little Salmon Bay, City of York Bay and Parakeet Bay. Two of these, Little Salmon Bay and Parker Point also have snorkelling trails available where you can swim amongst the world’s most southerly corals and see some of the 135 species of tropical fish that live here. If you’re into diving, there’s 13 shipwrecks off the coast and surfers are also catered for with Strickland Bay a popular spot to catch a few waves.
A brand new business to the island is Sea Kayak Rottnest. With a fleet of glass bottom kayaks available, you can head out on the water for a guided tour of several beautiful spots with the added bonus of being able to see the reef life below.
Walking trails and tours
The Wadjemup Walk Trail is a series of walking trails with 5 main sections that measure a total of 45kms and cover the perimeter of the island as well as some of the inner parts of Rottnest Island. They’re a great way to explore Rotto and take in the stunning beaches, lakes and a few of the lesser known parts of the island as well. If you’re keen to do a guided walking tour then these are available too with the Rottnest Voluntary Guides Association hosting free guided walks. There are a number of different free walks available including the History of the Settlement Walk, a Quokka Walk, a Reefs, Wrecks and Daring Sailors Walk, the Vlamingh Lookout and Salt Lakes Walk as well as the Whitecaps and Wilderness Tour. These walks all range from 45minutes to an hour and depart from the Main Settlement.
If you’re looking for an amazing island escape in Western Australia, Rottnest Island needs to be on your list. With so many beaches, those adorable Quokkas and lots of walking trails to explore I’d recommend spending a couple of nights here to really make the most of this incredible island. If you’ve got any questions about Rottnest Island, please ask away in the comments section below!